April 20th, 2015 was the day that changed everything for me. Just a few weeks before, I had found out that I was pregnant for the first time. Stephen and I were overjoyed but wanted to keep our news a surprise for the moment. And then, before we had told anyone about our little Peppercorn, my pregnancy was over.
I had been spotting for a few days, but felt like something was really not right. A friend shared tragic news - a terminal diagnosis for her infant son - and my heart was breaking for her. For months, I would blame this crying session for the loss, trying to carry the blame for my miscarriage, to pin it on intense emotions.
On Monday, I started a new job. On Wednesday, I felt myself begin to bleed heavily. I was at a work lunch with a colleague and knew there was nothing I could do. The next day, I called off work. The bleeding steadily grew heavier and my cramping got worse and worse. It's hard to parse out the physical pain from the emotional agony. I remember wanting to be in the dark bedroom and staying curled up in my comforter all day.
The darkness surrounded me. It felt like sadness had seeped into my bones and would never leave. Yes, it sounds cheesy - but I am not the same person I was on April 19th, 2015 and every day before then. Losing a baby eaves an indelible mark. No matter if I have ten more pregnancies or no more pregnancies, this loss will make me wary.
Only a few months after I lost Peppercorn, I found out I was pregnant again. This time, sticky baby dust lasted 40 weeks and two days before I finally met Shep for the first time. I remember many of these moments as firsts. While it wasn't the first time I saw a positive pregnancy test on my bathroom counter, it was the first time that seeing that positive sign left me with a knot of black dread in my stomach. "Oh crap."
That's how I shared the wonderful news with Stephen - "Oh crap."
The loss of my very first pregnancy has colored every bright spot since then. Perhaps it's not tainted it forever, perhaps the rainbows in my world eventually shine again in full technicolor. Still, every joy first passes through grey lenses. Even if it's just for a moment - I glimpse a life that I don't have and will never have. One where I have two children, but not the children I have.
Shep was born in the afternoon on a Wednesday. Stephen said, "It's a boy!" Our doctor asked if we had picked out a name, and Stephen and I looked at each other and smiled. Then we looked at our son, wriggling and wet and raw with new life. "Shepard." His name is Shepard. Then tears welled up in my eyes, and I reached for my husband's hand. "We wouldn't have him if we hadn't lost our first baby." Our doctor sniffled. We cried together - from relief, from exhaustion. From grief. Because our loss is real now and it was real then.
Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. To remember our lost children and to band together as unified grieving parents, we light a candle. At 7:00 pm local time, parents everywhere light candles. The time zones create a wave of light that moves around the globe. Together we can support each other. Together we can heal. Our experiences may be dark. But light will always vanquish darkness.
No matter how little time you had with your baby, know that you are being lifted up in the wave of light tonight. Share your candle with me on Twitter @pi3sugarpi3 with #WaveOfLight